Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

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greenholmeshandy
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Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby greenholmeshandy » Tue Nov 29, 2016 8:23 pm

we have a nice free forward but a bit head sticky up but reliable canter. Poor instructor is coping well with my snails pace progress:

I have edited this as I had a long hard think last night. Instructor has ridden pony for 8 or 9 sessions over a month on her own, with instructor pony goes in a beautiful outline, round and soft and pushing from behind. She has learnt to canter either lead, counter canter, leg yield, shoulder in, bum out (cant remember technical term) and looks beautiful. With me we have sticky out head, stiff necked pony who slides through her left shoulder. The only difference is who is on top.

I have struggled for years with old horse (whom some may remember as Brychen) and now for four years with her. I kid myself we could do a decent dressage test. I am probably deluded. I did some research last night after watching my clips from my training session and the key factor is that I have absolutely bugger all feel. I react so slowly when pony yields that I reward the wrong thing or she simply doesn't get a reward so why yield, my arms are now rigid trying to keep my hands low, and my back doesn't absorb movement.

Some of this I can overcome but I don't think I can train in feel and I think I am better sticking to Trec or maybe simply selling pony to someone who can capitalise on what she likes, which is schooling and learning new movements and get myself an endurance horse. its such a shame as I have grown to love this pony whole heartedly. I actually cried driving in to work as I have wasted so much time trying to be something I will never be and I must look a real idiot to people where I keep the pony.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTj6NstvFN0

and for humour it all going terribly wrong at walk trot test much earlier this year...at least I know she can leg yield...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v97O4OW_gng
Last edited by greenholmeshandy on Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ryeissa
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Re: Progress of sorts

Postby Ryeissa » Tue Nov 29, 2016 10:42 pm

Look at you! Much improved.

greenholmeshandy
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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby greenholmeshandy » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:34 am

Thank you Ryeissa,

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby Tuddy » Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:41 pm

greenholmeshandy wrote:
I have struggled for years with old horse (whom some may remember as Brychen) and now for four years with her. I kid myself we could do a decent dressage test. I am probably deluded. I did some research last night after watching my clips from my training session and the key factor is that I have absolutely bugger all feel. I react so slowly when pony yields that I reward the wrong thing or she simply doesn't get a reward so why yield, my arms are now rigid trying to keep my hands low, and my back doesn't absorb movement. .....

...... its such a shame as I have grown to love this pony whole heartedly. I actually cried driving in to work as I have wasted so much time trying to be something I will never be and I must look a real idiot to people where I keep the pony.



DON'T.GIVE.UP.

Take a break if you need to, but don't give in. I can relate whole heartedly as to how you are feeling, but don't give up.

And if others feel you are an idiot for where you are in your journey - give them up, you don't need those people. You own your horse, not them.

Hugs. Hope you are feeling better about things today.

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby Josette » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:26 pm

You need to stop being concerned about what others think and make your priority what makes you happy. You love your pony and that is what matters IMO. Many years ago, when I was a teenager I had a lovely small pony who I loved dearly. I was constantly given crap about when was I going to get a horse because everyone else was showing horses - not ponies. I gave in to the peer pressure and sold that pony and was MISERABLE. I can't describe how I regretted selling that pony. However, fate worked out that the young sisters who purchased him were too green and unable to handle/ride him. Fortunately one night I got a phone call from their parents telling me they could no longer keep the pony. Was I interested in buying him back? I was there the next day to pick him up!!! I kept him until he passed in his mid-30' and I have NEVER regretted that decision.

From that day forward if anyone passed comments about why I rode/ purchased a certain horse - why I didn't show or takes lessons with so and so - I ignored them. I make the decisions what horse I choose to own and ride because that horse/pony is who makes me happy. I don't care what level I ride as long as I am enjoying myself and my horse enjoys our rides. For some people showing is a very high priority and others not so much. Not every rider or horse/pony is going to do well as a show horse. However, they may excel in a different area and do well there. There are many show horses who cannot be ridden outside of an arena. Their riders have NEVER been on a trail ride. Please do what is in your heart and enjoy your pony.

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby Ponichiwa » Wed Nov 30, 2016 2:55 pm

I see a couple different issues that are manifesting themselves in that all-too-familiar-to-me shame/despair spiral.

1. Your trainer is a better rider than you are. You are paying him/her to be a better rider than you are and to give your pony good rides. Yes, your pony will look better under your trainer, but how much worse would you feel if she didn't?

2. Continuing from 1, you are beating yourself up for not being better. For not having feel, for not showing improvement fast enough, etc. Again, I'm really familiar with this because I do it myself.

3. Worrying about what other people think re: your horse/your riding contributes to #2. For the majority of us, someone else can ride our horses better than we can. Including people that may be (and that's a maybe, because lots of people are absorbed in themselves instead of thinking about others) judging you.

Cut yourself some slack. Give yourself permission to enjoy your horse. Please be kinder to yourself-- this sport is hard! It's hard for everyone! It takes a long time and a lot of work to get better, and it's rarely a linear progression. Breathe, thank your pony for being a good pony, and work on things within your own control.

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby Sue B » Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:37 pm

Oh my gosh Brychen (ghs), cut yourself some slack! You ARE improving as is your adorable pony. And, remember, the better you ride, the better you will do in Trek as well--dressage improves horse AND rider for all sorts of horse sports, you have not wasted one minute of time working at improving your seat.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of things you can do to continue your journey to ride better. I find watching videos of riders like Steffan or Charolette or Ingrid or whatever BNT you admire shortly before riding helps me to ride more fluidly. Another thing that might help, is asking your trainer if she has a schoolie you can lunge on so that you can focus only on you and not your pony. Work off the horse to increase core strength helps stabilize your body making it easier to follow the horse. So MANY things you can do and still have total fun with riding. No one says you HAVE TO show a dressage test, but there's no reason NOT to either. You can and have done a perfectly lovely test before and they will only get better as you grow more comfortable with showing.

It is important that you understand ALL of us struggle with our riding at various times through the year. I can't count the number of times in the last 40 years I have thought about giving up this dressage thing, but I never will because the rewards are so worth it. So dry your eyes, buck up and go enjoy your lovely pony. :mrgreen:

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby kande50 » Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:01 pm

Relax, you're doing just fine. Don't let the doubts creep in, and when they start, which I think they do for everyone, go ride your nice pony and just enjoy how nice she is. Goals are great because they help motivate us, but I think it's important to avoid letting our goals become so important that we lose sight of why we wanted horses in the first place.

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby Moutaineer » Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:07 pm

OK, so now the trainer has worked on the pony, and got her to a place where she can do some stuff, which is great for you.

Now, you have a more trained pony to learn on. Trainer can work on you now and get you to a place where you AND the pony can do this stuff.

It doesn't happen by magic.

I put my trainer up on my horse and she can get a tune out of him that I can't. Yet.

But she can a) prove to me that it's in there, and b) consolidate it in him so I can stand chance of getting there someday, c) teach me how to do it.

I first got on a horse 49 years ago come January. (Thank you, my dear father, for that Christmas gift of riding lessons that has lasted me a lifetime!) My timing and feel are still very much a work in progress.

Because of my funny accent, my age and the horse that I ride, everyone always thinks I know more than I actually do--trainers, clinicians, fellow barn mates, etc.. But in reality I've had a dearth of decent instruction throughout my riding life and have fudged my way through most things. I swallowed my pride at the end of this show season and realized that I needed to go back and fill in a lot of holes in my skill set before I could truly progress.

My winter plan of "whoopee lets move on to flying changes and start him in a double bridle" has turned into "let's get the mechanics of sitting the trot correctly, and learn how to hold the reins--and refine my timing and feel, even at the walk to start, until I can get a square and perfect halt from my seat and breath, and then get a half halt the same way... And I will regard it as a Zen experience and not get frustrated."

It's been a humbling but also liberating experience. When I work with my trainer or a clinician now, instead of fumbling my way blindly through what I think they want so I don't reveal my inadequacies to the inevitable audience, I've got comfortable saying "I know you think I ought to know how to make that happen, but really, I have no clue, so teach me."

My trainer is rather enjoying the refreshing honesty of it. Yours might too. Have a conversation with her about taking you back to basics. And don't get frustrated.

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby Mareless » Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:33 pm

You have gotten some very excellent advice from the posters above. Said so well that I can't even attempt to add to what they've stated.

So, I will commiserate, as I had an absolutely dreadful lesson yesterday in which my horse was grumpy and unwilling and sore, so when the soreness (he has navicular) presented itself after only about 15 minutes in the saddle, my trainer kindly offered to put me on her horse. I've ridden her horse about three times before, always making some sort of progress in my riding each time. Not so last night. Last night I couldn't ride that horse to save my life; couldn't make him round, kept 'losing' my right seat bone when attempting leg yield (at a walk, no less!), and was just so uncoordinated it wasn't funny. I went home in a funk, sure that I am the worst dressage rider ever.

Don't give up on yourself. We all have crappy phases. We all have our own personal bugaboos (what is it about LY that I some days nail and other days am incapable of doing?!?) and things to master. Take a deep breath, maybe a couple days out of the saddle, then get up there and keep going.

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby piedmontfields » Wed Nov 30, 2016 8:18 pm

What a good thread you've started!

First greenholmeshandy, I would like you to know that the first thought I had when looking at your videos was "Look at GHH having fun with her pony! Looks like they are progressing well." So there. That is what I thought and I am not kidding.

For me, it is a process learning through your horse, as they become more confirmed and, often in a parallel universe, I become more confirmed. And then sometimes our universes intersect and it is very exciting! But the back and forth is also fun and seeing what your horse can do can also give you a lot of hope and excitement for continued learning.

So don't be a stranger and let us know what you are up to as you continue your journey.

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby capstone » Wed Nov 30, 2016 9:30 pm

I also agree with the above posters. It is very easy to get down on ourselves, especially by comparing to others. As was said in particular - of course you want your trainer to ride your horse well! This is a good thing. My trainer took my horse out at FEI this year and got scores up to 67% at Intermediare 1. When I ride him, we work on basic 1st/2nd level stuff (occasionally the odd flying change and recently canter halfpass) and it is not always pretty. Clearly it is me that is the issue. But I love him and feel that we are on the right path. So I continue on.

And your pony is adorable and you look like a great match. :)

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby Dapple Field » Thu Dec 01, 2016 1:12 am

In regards to the video of the walk trot test, I was impressed at how well you kept your position with all that the mare was throwing at you with her hysterics about the people in the woods. She's really cute and you fit her so well. I don't think you should beat yourself up. You are a nice quiet rider and I can't see why the two of you can't keep progressing. It all takes time. Lots of time.

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby vkitty » Thu Dec 01, 2016 5:19 am

She is a beautiful pony! If you are not enjoying training with her you have a hard decision. If you do want to continue, as mentioned above it can be helpful to watch videos of more accomplished riders. Ideally training/riding videos close to the level you and your horse are at, and not in show clothes. Sometimes I have to watch several times before I stop seeing just the horse and can focus on the rider. As far as feel, if you do have the opportunity to get on a horse who gives it to you more easily you can take it back to your own horse. Sometimes we just have to slog away at changing one thing about the way we ride and eventually, the big picture starts to come into focus. She is really beautiful - I wouldn't give up :)

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby Flight » Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:24 am

Dressage is hard! Competing is even harder! Most of us have all been in your place, and had thoughts that we are not good enough etc. You are riding and trying, and you are way too hard on yourself. Hugs!
Don't give up. Definitely give yourself something other than dressage to do that's more fun as well. I trail ride and try and do a bit of (tiny) eventing so it's not just dressage.
You should expect your trainer to be able to get more out of your horse, they are the professionals and it's what they do for a living. If you really want to improve, try not to get emotional and be more analytical. And accept that it just takes a lot of time (and patience!).
I have zero talent, I've had to watch and learn and spend a lot of hours not even in the saddle, to see some improvement.
You're already on the right track, keep at it :)

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby calvin » Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:36 pm

You are doing just FINE! Take heart, pat yourself on your back for getting out there and working hard, kiss your pony on the nose and join the rest of us: this discipline/sport/art is not easy. The horse goes as he/she is ridden. It is a hard pill to swallow in some ways, because a really good rider shows you Just how capable your pony is! But and on the other hand, it also stimulates you and motivates you to keep working on yourself, both on and off the horse, and encourages you to do YOUR best. Do we all feel inadequate? I expect most of us do, either every day (!) or at least, from time to time. My horse and I are both getting along in years but I am still learning, he is still improving, and we enjoy our schooling and hacking-out adventures. We are the luckiest of all people to have horses in our lives. Enjoy your fabulous pony, and be Positive!

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby Linden16 » Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:31 pm

I don't know if anyone has suggested this yet, but it is (seriously) what I did as a kid before I could ride more than once a week.

Take a piece of string(twine?) the length of a set of reins. Find a comfy floor to sit on right in ront of a door that opens towards you when you sit in front of it. Tie the centre of the twine around the door handle (Round doorknobs work best) and the sit far enough away from the door that you can push it closed, away from your body, with your feet (straight out in front of you) and you can hold the "reins" just like it would be when connected to a horse's mouth.

Practice your feel and timing by trying to keep the exact same level of tension in. KGB reins, as you work the door back and forth. You'll obviously need to use your feet to provide some resistance when you bring the door closer, (half halt) and as you push it away, your elbows will have to stay soft to allow the movement, but any timing deficits with your upper body/shoulders/arms/elbows etc and you'll drop the contact.

That is how I learned feel. Use your imagination!

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby Kathy Johnson » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:29 pm

This is something I've never said on the internet but I've said it in real life. I don't even want to say it, because it can be taken the wrong way. But I've been following you and the pony for years and it's what I see, so here goes.

I see a pony scampering around, running away from the rider's leg and whip, misunderstanding signals and worrying about where her head should be. I believe that if the rider does not know the term for haunches in, the rider probably isn't ready for the complicated concept and the trainer has no business putting extra buttons on the horse that are confusing the horse and rider. Your pony is having a hard time making the transition between riders.

We all want to think that dressage makes the horse better and indeed it does make the horse better at dressage, but not necessarily better at being an uncomplicated riding horse. All dressage trainers can make a horse better at dressage, but not all keep in mind they are training the horse FOR THE RIDER, not for dressage, and certainly not for themselves.

The first thing you need to divest yourself of is the worry that you are not as good as the trainer. Of course you are not. That's fine. But I think your worry is correct that things are not going as they should be. I learned this the hard way, training hunters for amateur riders. It was all very well if I could ride the horse over high jumps, but would the horse canter slowly around cross rails for the owner? That was my real job and it wasn't nearly as glamorous or fun.

If you can think of a tactful way to discuss this with your trainer, please let me know! In the meantime, you might try pulling the pony out of training for awhile and asking the trainer to substitute lessons instead. See if that helps restore relaxation and your peace of mind.

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby orono » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:56 pm

You're much to hard on yourself!! Lots of progress, you both look great! :D

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby piedmontfields » Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:24 pm

Kathy Johnson wrote: The first thing you need to divest yourself of is the worry that you are not as good as the trainer. Of course you are not. That's fine. But I think your worry is correct that things are not going as they should be. I learned this the hard way, training hunters for amateur riders. It was all very well if I could ride the horse over high jumps, but would the horse canter slowly around cross rails for the owner? That was my real job and it wasn't nearly as glamorous or fun.


This is an interesting and important point for anyone who works with a trainer. Some trainers really want to produce as good of a dressage horse as possible. That may or may not be ridable or accessible to the owner. Others focus on making a horse that the owner enjoys. That is a different end goal.

I was talking with a trainer last month about this. She was frustrated and worried that she was failing by making horses that were well-trained and sensitive---but not what her adult amateur clients could easily ride. It was a conflict for her, because she felt the training she was putting in was correct---but it could not really be used by the owners (who were less interested in dressage and more interested in hacking or just enjoying their horse however). Btw, these owners did say they were interested in dressage to start with!

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby galopp » Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:54 pm

It is interesting the last paragraph, because it is important that trainers make horses for their clients, not for themselves. It is the job also to teach the student how to train, how to time. It is NOT an easy job.

And for me some that stood out was about arms being rigid trying to keep my hands low, and the back doesn't absorb movement. Keep the hands lifted, a straight line to the horse's mouth, or the seat will become rigid and the horse will evade by hollowing. Those are things which the student must learn as to how create better alignment and timing and use figures properly to supple the horse. Imho riding whole arena (first vid) is virtually useless (except to have the horse into both reins evenly) in suppling the horse and getting its mind, and teaching the student timing of aids. mho

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby Kathy Johnson » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:34 pm

Also, a horse can be confused if the trainer and the regular rider are of different builds and the trainer is giving in the leg aids in a different place or the seat aids with a different weight. A well schooled horse can sort it out but a greener horse might become confused. It was for this reason that I rarely let long legged, large men train my horses and tended to choose trainers who are built more like me, because they tended to teach methods more in line with how I ride. For instance, I watched an NH trainer the other day "soften" a really spoiled horse by pulling his head side to side. This actually did unlock the runaway barrel horse, but I thought, "My shoulders would take about 30 seconds of that and I would have to find another way to reach that horse" whereas he had the upper body strength to muscle through it.

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby piedmontfields » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:00 am

galopp wrote:It is interesting the last paragraph, because it is important that trainers make horses for their clients, not for themselves. It is the job also to teach the student how to train, how to time. It is NOT an easy job.


I agree with both counts. I think this particular trainer was realizing just how much s/he had failed over the years.

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby greenholmeshandy » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:35 pm

Hello all since posting the original post I have been striving to improve, I have had a number of discussions with my poor trainer who is having to gradually unpick years of my misunderstanding very basic principle. Examples;

Me - I always thought to turn, bend, do a circle you only used the inside leg. Her - nope you will just get a sort of leg yield across the school, horse bends around inside leg, outside leg moves behind girth and is used to control

Me _ I thought reward by giving with the rein meant giving the rein completely away to horse to buckle end , her _ err no

Me - does on the bit mean I should still have some weight in the hands (2lb of pressure etc) or no weight as I always thought that proper contact meant you couldn't feel the horses mouth or weight from it. her - no sense of weight means no contact with horse, too much means your pulling so horse is pulling as well.

Please bare in mind that this is my simplification of what she explains and shows me how to do. I think it has been useful for her to ride pony to show her bits I couldn't explain, but agree with Kathy that it must be hard for pony to interpret my 5 foot now back to over ten stone unfit aids to those given by 6 foot 8 stone eventing fit instructor . Instructor has encouraged me to try some clinicians as well to get different input.

She is very kind and keen to help people be happy riders, for example one friend who has been stuck 2 years doing in hand walk and ridden walk with her supposedly terminally crooked unbalanced horse with another instructor is now at the stage of canter work after 3 months with mine. No force just through encouragement.

We are progressing and now into mid 60% to 70% preliminary and intro tests. I'm quite happy to have comments even adverse ones on standbys free styles test as we have moved on from there thank goodness.

I am grateful for every one on this forums help and for people putting up with my slow but steady progress.

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Re: Progress of sorts -edited to or am I kiding myself

Postby Kathy Johnson » Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:40 pm

I am so glad you are talking to your instructor. That is sometimes the hardest thing of all to do. You will be improving leaps and bounds. Learning to ride with both legs can be a difficult concept when we've got "inside leg, outside rein!" drilled into our heads. It is the key to advancing to the higher levels as the horse (in simplified fashion) is also ridden at first fore predominately from the inside leg (turn on forehand, bending leg on circle, leg yield, shoulder in) and then more and more from the outside leg (turn on the haunches, half pass, travers, flying change).


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